Police focus on deliberate, reckless and negligent acts relating to bush fires, South Australia

With the fire danger season well and truly under way, police are focusing their efforts on our response to the threat of bushfires through Operation NOMAD.

Operation NOMAD is a focus on deliberate, reckless and negligent acts that may cause a bush fire. Patrols are deployed on total fire ban days (this includes severe, extreme and catastrophic fire danger ratings) throughout the season. These patrols are not only proactively detecting risky and deliberate behaviour, they are also a source of education for the community to reduce the risk of a bushfire.

For the operation commander, Assistant Commissioner Noel Bamford, Operation Nomad isn’t just a focus on known arsonists.

“While the operation continues to focus on known arsonists within our community, there is also a strong focus on preventing avoidable bushfires that have the potential to cause loss of life and significant damage,” he said.

“Analysis of bushfire activity has identified that majority of bushfires during the season are classified as non-suspicious and occur on non-fire ban days.

“This can be anything from use of power tools or farming equipment when restrictions are in place, to parking a hot car on long grass during summer.”

During Operation Nomad 2018/2019 there were a total of 556 fires classified under NOMAD. The overwhelming majority were non-suspicious fires.

  • 406 non-suspicious incidents
  • 63 deliberate incidents
  • 44 suspicious incidents
  • 43 undetermined incidents

Last year there were 21 people apprehended for a range of offences, however 310 expiation notices were issued. These expiations were made up of 172 relating to lighting or maintaining a fire during the fire danger season as well as 77 expiations for dropping or throwing a burning object or material from a vehicle. These generally relate to cigarettes discarded from car windows.

“Police will continue to monitor the 81 persons of interest during this year’s fire danger season, 6 of whom are currently incarcerated,” said AC Bamford.

“Bushfire prevention is a community effort and while SA Police will proactively monitor and detect risky and deliberate bushfire activity, we rely on the information for the public to keep our community safe.”

Since the beginning of this year’s operation (2019/2020), the following enforcement activities have taken place;

  • 6 Report
  • 3 Adult Caution
  • 23 Expiations

Break down of offences:

Light/Maintain fire on Total Fire Ban: 6 reports, 3 adult cautions

Drop/throw burning object from vehicle: 14 expiations

Drop/throw burning object that may come in contact with flammable material: 1 expiation

Drop/throw any material capable of causing a fire in the country: 1 expiation

Parks & Wildlife – light fire contrary to director’s ban: 1 expiation

Environmental Protection (Air Quality): 6 expiations

If you see anything suspicious or activity that increase the risk of bushfire, contact the police assistance line on 131 444.

Helpful details to provide police include the location and people involved, descriptions of those present, any vehicle details and anything else that may assist the responding patrol or our investigators.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.